I took my four-year-old son to see The March of the Penguins yesterday. I was concerned that he would be bored and asking to return to the videogames in the lobby soon after the opening credits began given that, as far as I knew, the penguins weren't digitally animated, possessed no unique super-powers, and most importantly, didn't brandish light sabers. So although I was slightly embarrassed at Javi's litany of questions that rivaled the volume of Morgan Freeman's narration, self-consciousness was abated by relief that he was at least attentive and trying to understand.
Javi's questions might serve as an alternative commentary track on the upcoming Preschool Edition DVD of the movie, suggesting talk-points for parents to help their children appreciate the circle of life. "Where are the penguins walking to?" "Why did they stop walking?" "Why is that penguin on top of that other penguin?" "Why is the daddy penguin sitting on the egg?" "Where are the mommy penguins going?" "Why is it taking so long for the penguin to get out of the egg?" "Where is the sun going?" "When are the mommy penguins coming back?" "Why is the mommy spitting in the baby penguin's mouth?" "Why did that baby penguin get frozen?" "What's going to happen to the frozen penguin?" "Where are the mommy penguin's going?" "Why are they leaving their babies?"
I, along with my inquisitive son and about a dozen other mommies/nature-interpreters, watched in awe as the postpartum mother penguins marched approximately 70 miles through excruciatingly frigid conditions to retrieve nourishment for their fragile infants. With even greater amazement and unmistakable anticipatory anxiety we mommies listened as Mr. Freeman somberly related that after enduring many harrowing trials to ensure their children's successful development the parent penguins leave their babies to fend for themselves one last time, possibly never seeing each other again. As the mother penguins made their final march away from their babies, conceivably feeling that their job was complete and perhaps trusting that their offspring were prepared for independent survival, Javi asked, "Mommy, do the penguins have any super-powers?" to which I responded, "Yes, Javi. Apparently they do."